My RAK Movement (Random Act of Kindness). How about you?


  1. Plant a seed
  2. Apologise to someone you may have hurt
  3. Purchase ethical goods
  4. Smile at a stranger
  5. Gift someone something they complimented you for
  6. Volunteer your time for a good cause
  7. Go the day without complaining
  8. Make a conscious effort to recycle
  9. Pay for someone else’s meal today
  10. Share something interesting you’ve learnt today

Creativity: Random phrases for Friday and how my day went.


  1. Two Down, One to Go Meaning: Two things have been completed, but there is one more that has yet to be finished.  I finished two article writing and two presentations now one more to go.  Going is tough but it gets going. 
  2. Easy As Pie Meaning: Something that is easy.  Parting was so damned easy, why did I drag my feet and procrastinate?  I should have listened to my Theta brainwave and the Gut feel the very first time.  
  3. Throw In the Towel Meaning: Giving up; to surrender.  Even the worst of urban commie brainwashed bran-heads give up in surrender, the worst of the masks can be unpeeled and the already Red Inside faces can be made bloody – it is a skill, a technique,  a hard De-mentoring and exposing the pseudos – the Freeloaders who like a pest/ Leech suck your time, efforts, money and peace of mind. Good riddance! 
  4. Right Out of the Gate Meaning: Right from the beginning; to do something from the start. Someone said about hindsight and my polite response was – I have foresight and farsight. I drive with a backview mirror – I don’t need a mirror to see driving in the fore.  The hindsight is reserve of the stray horses and mares with broken or absent shoes with hurting nail which makes them kick at everything – not in sight and ignore what is in sight.  That is where the ‘Saddle point’ of negotiations arrive and the Best Jockeys – Mentors put nose rings and blinkers ON so that they can convert the strays into Race horses.  Best trainers, jockeys have a different approach to deal with them. Branding them is the first step 🙂 
  5. Jack of All Trades Master of None Meaning: Having suitable skill in multiple things, but not being an expert in any of them.  Yes.  For too long I have been that.  45 specific online courses (on Udemy)  later – i am still searching for the right niche’ to be an expert.  Otherwise, I am sure, I shall get an Honorary D.Litt. from a friendly University one day 🙂 🙂 🙂

Random Phrases today with Creativity boosters for the day.


Great Sunday.  5th meeting of Toastmasters in 3rd Club of Bangalore. Young, vibrant crowd mixed with some bearded oldies and middle aged Techies.

  1. Love Birds Meaning: A pair of people who have a shared love for each other. No. did not happen. Day of course, began different. 
  2. Jaws of Death Meaning: Being in a dangerous or very deadly situation.  No. Not really. Saw a Premier movie for a while but did not experience it 🙂 
  3. Two Down, One to Go Meaning: Two things have been completed, but there is one more that has yet to be finished. Yes. Today’s short walk left the Udemy course study unfinished for the day .
  4. No Ifs, Ands, or Buts Meaning: Finishing a task without making any excuses. Experienced this later in the day with two Excuse Masters cleverly negotiating with each other. 
  5. Right Off the Bat Meaning: Immediately, done in a hurry; without delay. Yes. without any inhibition responded emails and gave guidance to even a mail marked FYI 🙂 🙂 . Lessons repeated in Communications. 
  6. Break The Ice Meaning: Breaking down a social stiffness.  Great speeches by two youngsters and one International Humorist champs at Toastmasters. The breaking the ice speech was literally great. 
  7. A Chip on Your Shoulder Meaning: Being angry about something that happened in the past. Yes. I still carry one anger chip on my shoulder. 
  8. Shot In the Dark Meaning: An attempt that has little chance for success.  no like hope taking shot in the dark is not part of my strategy. 
  9. Let Her Rip Meaning: Permission to start, or it could mean ‘go faster!’  If the brainfog is gone and wiser sense prevails – you don’t need any permission. 
  10. Wake Up Call Meaning: An occurance of sorts that brings a problem to somebody’s attention and they realize it needs fixing.  Hmmm… will wait and watch though. 
  11. Keep Your Shirt On Meaning: Keeping calm. Usually said by someone who is trying to avoid making others upset.  Yes. even while in an angry tone, try not to rant. 🙂

Random Acts of Kindness – Choose one. I have.


  1. Save water – take a shorter shower today
  2. Make someone’s day – tell a friend why you appreciate them
  3. Fight climate change – go vegetarian for today!
  4. Someone wronged you? Forgive them
  5. Taking public transport? Offer your seat to someone else
  6. Feed a stray animal if you spot one
  7. Surprise your parents with flowers
  8. Old laptop or mobile lying around? Donate it
  9. Help somebody with a chore they need done!
  10. No matter how annoying they can be, tell your siblings how much you appreciate them

Creativity and looking back at the Random Phrases generated this morning.


  1. Fight Fire With Fire Meaning: To retaliate with an attack that is similar to the attack used against you.  Used judicially, without impulse and impatience – it is one of the best Tactical play – not a strategic one. 
  2. Drawing a Blank Meaning: Failing to recall a memory. Unable to remember something.  True. I have erased my mailbox and social media of one set of memories and I can truly use the expression ‘Tabula Rasa’ – Empty slate today. Even my memory enhancing tablets may not be able to help now. 
  3. Mountain Out of a Molehill Meaning: One who escalates small things and turns them into big problems. Hmmm… but frankly, barring cleaning of my Mac I did not face such issues. 
  4. Roll With the Punches Meaning: To tolerate or endure through the unexpected mishappenings you may encounter from time to time.  Yes. a phase is over. Hopefully. 
  5. Curiosity Killed The Cat Meaning: Typically said to indicate that any further investigation into a situation may lead to harm.  Who can agree more? Me the HyperCurious, HyperCritique, HyperScaler, HyperMentor?  I have faced this and overcome this. 
  6. Top Drawer Meaning: High quality, exceptional; something that’s very valuable.  What is more important in life than LOVE?  Nay, not money. 
  7. Playing Possum Meaning: Pretending to be dead, or to be deceitful about something. No. Not my nature but people promising to do and not doing – I have seen plenty. Lack of integrity.  Even simple courtesies to let people know they can not meet or call due to….  etc. etc. 
  8. Happy as a Clam Meaning: The state of being happy; feeling delighted.  Got three more certifications from Udemy today. 
  9. It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be Meaning: Failing to meet expectations; not being as good as people say.  It takes minimum two to Tango – No?  Just asking?
  10. Quick On the Draw Meaning: Performing an action with the greatest of haste.  When procrastination takes over, self medication, self harm and self-sabotage starts. Drugs, Alchohol and other addictions begin to take over the brain and one flips into an endless abyss.  It is sad but true. 

Creativity: Generate Random Phrases and relate to the day gone by…


  1. Go For Broke Meaning: To risk it all, even if it means losing everything. To go all out. That’s crazy ain’t it? But some do. And to go by the mindfulness and other courses I am doing they say listening to heart, thinking thru heart is good. Wondering what is right?
  2. Roll With the Punches Meaning: To tolerate or endure through the unexpected mishappenings you may encounter from time to time. Yes. it is a bit quixotic past 6 months. But past 3 are better with all the certifications and blog writing.  Things average out indeed. 
  3. Love Birds Meaning: A pair of people who have a shared love for each other Hmmm…. Will have to rack my brains to find who ? 🙂
  4. Ring Any Bells? Meaning: Recalling a memory; causing a person to remember something or someone.  Can we ’cause’ someone to remember/ recall a memory – Seriously ! I can only associate it with Traumatic or may be dramatic and laughable :0) What do you think?
  5. Curiosity Killed The Cat Meaning: Typically said to indicate that any further investigation into a situation may lead to harm.  Listening to some of the Udemy lectures I now know – Seeing and taking things on face value is incorrect. They use some jargon for it. But then Hypercurious like me – we Kill such cats! All the time 🙂 
  6. Cry Over Spilt Milk Meaning: It’s useless to worry about things that  already happened and cannot be changed. This is so true!  Which is why my Guru and Mentor brought the manufacturing term into coaching called “Feedforward” as we can only create better future and can’t correct the past ( like some pseudo-sickular historians in India who are well paid to re-write history). Sad! 
  7. Foaming At The Mouth Meaning: To be enraged and show it. The Tamil song Kolavari Di and Hindi word – Khunnas should find a way into Oxford dictionary now – Foaming at mouth is so Passe’! 
  8. If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen Meaning: One should discontinue with a task if they are unable to cope with it due to pressure.  I also read an advice to a girl today (purportedly by Confucius – spelt wrongly that if the man of her choice is not better than her – he is not for her or something like that – Wah! ) 
  9. Hands Down Meaning: Anything that’s easy or has no difficulty; something that is a certainty.  What’s that!?  Truly, I would like to know – I have gone thru so much bad times but things always averaged out for me. 
  10. High And Dry Meaning: To be left behind; abandoned. Being in a helpless situation without a way to recover. When you meet quixotic, unpredictables and semi-insane people in life and give your trust, empathy to them – you will be in for a shock of your life and will always find yourself in this damned situation. 

My Random Acts of Kindness suggestions


  1. Smile at 3 people today
  2. Treat a friend – buy them lunch!
  3. Offer to help your neighbours/friends with chores
  4. Compliment someone today!
  5. Gift someone something they complimented you for
  6. House chores can be tiring – offer a helping hand
  7. Hug your parents
  8. Surprise your parents with flowers
  9. Share today’s food with your neighbour!
  10. Feeling brave? Give blood

Random Act of Kindness. I have chosen one. Please choose what you like.


  1. Treat a friend – buy them lunch!
  2. Surprise your siblings with their favourite sweets/chocolate
  3. We all love surprises! Buy someone an unexpected gift
  4. Pick up somebody else’ tab next time you go for a coffee
  5. Recycle 3 things today
  6. Help an elderly person cross the road or up the stairs
  7. Pay for someone else’s meal today
  8. Help someone academically – lend them your study notes
  9. Tell a friend about ARK/World Kindness Day
  10. Hug your parents

Jay’s Creativity Tantra : Generate Random Phrases every day.


  1. Playing For Keeps Meaning: Said when things are about to get serious. I do give up at times. but I do give it a very serious try. In one recent case I gave up after 50 serious attempts to help.  When people do not wish to help themselves – who am I to help. 
  2. It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be Meaning: Failing to meet expectations; not being as good as people say.  Yes that is my not wish.
  3. When the Rubber Hits the Road Meaning: When something is about to begin, get serious, or put to the test.  I am going to junk few Udemy courses I enrolled Free and have not gone to them yet. I wish to revise the ones I finished quickly but would like to re-read/ listen/ watch. 
  4. It’s Not Brain Surgery Meaning: A task that’s easy to accomplish, a thing lacking complexity.  I wish I get one today. 
  5. Like Father Like Son Meaning: Resembling one’s parents in terms of appearance or behavior. My receding hairline or the growing Temple from both sides makes me resemble my father. I do wish I had my mother’s blue eyes and my father’s Dark Tan – near black color rather than the pale brown I have 🙂 .  I do have their Temper, I do have their killer instincts and I do have the hunger for knowledge and the will to chase building reputation instead of money. 
  6. No Ifs, Ands, or Buts Meaning: Finishing a task without making any excuses.  FINISHIATIVE is a term I used for many years now. It has come to stay with me.
  7. Lickety Split Meaning: To go at a quick pace; no delaying!  At my Age, is there another option?  Slowdown is not my option. Hope is not part of my strategy.
  8. Talk the Talk Meaning: Supporting what you say, not just with words, but also through action or evidence. Yes! That is Integrity for me. Do what I say. Fulfill every promise I made, fulfill every commitment before I am dead. 
  9. Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed Meaning: Someone who isn’t witty or sharp, but rather, they are ignorant, unintelligent, or senseless.  I hope I do not have to deal with one today. 
  10. Don’t Look a Gift Horse In The Mouth Meaning: When you receive a gift from someone, do not be ungrateful. I so believe in this. I love gifting more than receiving. Rarely I go for a Quid Pro Quo!. 


Great Idioms Generated today: Predicting the day and being creative with Randomness –


I am doing a new Learning course about Master 5 key elements of Story Writing/ Telling.

The Key elements are

  1. Character
  2. Objective
  3. Conflict
  4. Action
  5. Stakes

To Ramp this all up – it is essential to churn some new ideas and I am using the Random Phrases/ Idiom Generation methods.  This is close to what I learnt at Dr. Edward de Bono’s Serious creativity and Lateral thinking books and trainings. They are great.

A Good Plan’s All You Need.  This is true. I need to plan again. Have tried several things, done several things. My core is into Strategy and Planning but have done many things impulsively.  Good Random inputs.

A Bandage For Your Sorrow.   Is there a Bandage for Sorrows? I have proved to be with a touch of Magic and the remaining half of my heart ( after cardiac issues) of Gold, Pure and Untouched.  But what I really need is a Hand that heals those unseen, only felt wounds and sorrows people undergo. It is a gift I keep demanding the God and wait for his Kindness to shower.

The Hopes Of The Devil.  I shall park these for the moments.
———————
A Whistle In The Wind.
———————
Just A Bump On My Head.  

If any of our readers have any thoughts, suggestions – they are welcome.

Creativity and Fun with Random Sentences generated.


  1. Lets all be unique together until we realise we are all the same. 
  2. If I don’t like something, I’ll stay away from it.
  3. Writing a list of random sentences is harder than I initially thought it would be.
  4. A song can make or ruin a person’s day if they let it get to them.
  5. Is it free?

Random Acts of Kindness.


  1. Make someone’s day – tell a friend why you appreciate them
  2. Old laptop or mobile lying around? Donate it
  3. Make someone a cup of coffee
  4. It’s hard to stay connected – reach out to an elderly person you know
  5. Give up your seat on the tube/bus
  6. Help a younger student with their work
  7. Write a complimentary note for someone
  8. Make a hot beverage for a friend/family
  9. Plant a seed
  10. Reconnect with your grandparents or an elderly person you know – give them a call!

Random Acts of Kindness

Author Anne Herbert coined the phrase “Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty,” basing it on the all-too-commonly used “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty.” The idea has caught on, but there are times when you shouldn’t be practicing acts of kindness. So, before we look at why you should practice them, let’s be mindful of two reasons why you shouldn’t do so:

  • Self-aggrandisement and publicity.That’s right! No selfies when you give that homeless guy food!
  • Getting in the way of emergency services (although your intentions are good). In situations where emergency services are already active, ask how you can help instead of just diving in head-first.

Lastly, let’s not forget that charity begins at home. Unexpectedly helping a friend or family member also counts. The person you help needn’t be a stranger. Now that we’ve got beyond the caveats, let’s look at some reasons why you should practice random acts of kindness.

You genuinely get to help, even if it’s only in a small way

This one’s a real no-brainer. You aren’t being kind if you aren’t helping. By helping someone else, even if it’s only holding a door open, smiling at someone or offering to carry shopping bags, you have genuinely helped. The person you’ve been kind to feels more valued, and who knows? There could be a knock-on effect.

Make others feel good

There are a lot of sad, lonely or depressed people out there. Even if the person you help wasn’t feeling down, you’ll make them feel good. If you’re truly a kind person, this will be one of your prime reasons for practicing random acts of kindness.

Feel good yourself

Although this shouldn’t be the reason why you are kind to others, it will be an inevitable consequence. Psychologists point out that as social creatures, helping others satisfies a very deep need within our psyche. It’s instinctive and inevitable. Your self-esteem will improve because you’ll feel like a “good person.” You may even find yourself smiling to yourself when you think about some act of kindness you’ve carried out or are planning.

Build stronger relationships

When you practice kindness as a habit, and do things you don’t have to do to help people you know, you’ll build stronger relationships. If you are ever in a disagreement or do something silly that isn’t helpful at all, you’re far more likely to be forgiven.

Change someone’s life for the better

You never know when something kind that you do will change someone’s life for the better. I recently read a story about a drug addict who lived on the streets and was always treated like filth. One day, he received a small act of kindness from someone, and it made him realize that he still had worth as a human being. He went on to quit drugs, and later became a motivational speaker. Even a small act of kindness can have very powerful, even life-changing, effects.

Give, and you never know, you may receive when you need it most

I’m not sure if we should believe in instant karma, but one thing is certain: when you help others, they become more willing to help you. Since we all go through difficulties at some point in life, that help can prove to be more important to you than you would ever believe.

Others will pass it forward

Kindness is catching. Has someone ever made your day, and you spend the rest of it spreading the sunshine? That’s what I’m talking about!

You’ll become less judgmental

This is a tough one, but when we start seeing people as human beings and not as “labels” like “worthless drug addict,” a “homeless wastrel” or “sourpuss,” we feel a lot better. Everyone has their own problems, and whether they are to blame for them or not, it’s not our place to judge them. Make a point of helping someone you don’t really like. It’s good practice.

Life will have more meaning to you

If you’re forever planning acts of kindness, or grabbing opportunities to help those in need, you’ll be eager to see what each new day will bring.

Make the world a better place

Imagine if everybody in the world was kind to others. What a wonderful place the world would be! You can’t force others to be kind, but you can do your best, and the kindness contagion will spread. Whether you can help in large ways or small, do what you can to build the momentum.

Creativity: Random phrases generated for the day.


  1. Down For The Count Meaning: Someone or something that looks to be defeated, or nearly so. – No I would like to see WIN WIN for all I deal with.
  2. Back To the Drawing Board Meaning: Starting over again on a new design from a previously failed attempt. Yes. I did not get to my target of weight loss as 31st July deadline ended. Need to go back again to drawing board. SEt new date, do something different. Something more. something less. Growth has occured. Now time to shrink.
  3. Cry Wolf Meaning: Someone that calls for help when it is not needed. Someone who is lying. Hmmm. No comment
  4. A Dime a Dozen Meaning: Something that is extremely common. Yes Random, mundane people who I try to make them do extra so they turn Extraordinary.
  5. Cut To The Chase Meaning: To get to the point, leaving out all of the unnecessary details. I like this. Always hit the nail on the head.
  6. Keep On Truckin’ Meaning: To keep going, pressing forward; never stopping. Yes that’s who I am. A Trucker 1
  7. Right Off the Bat Meaning: Immediately, done in a hurry; without delay. Call it impulse, or whatever, I call it quick finishiative.
  8. Wouldn’t Harm a Fly Meaning: Nonviolent; someone who is mild or gentle. Hmmms…
  9. Fish Out Of Water Meaning: Someone being in a situation that they are unfamiliar or unsuited for. I follow WEan to WIN strategy in my coaching/ mentoring and couldn’t care more
  10. Playing Possum Meaning: Pretending to be dead, or to be deceitful about something. I hate pretenders, hypocrites, pseudos and make it known from the rooftop!.

Creativity: Random Phrase generator for the day and how I foresee the day to progress…


  1. Birds of a Feather Flock Together Meaning: People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values. Have to find more and more likeminded people going forward that people poles apart.

  • Rain on Your Parade Meaning: To spoil someone’s fun or plans; ruining a pleasurable moment. No. Not happening. Won’t do that.

  • Hit Below The Belt Meaning: A boxing term. Also often used to refer to inappropriate words, or comments that are too personal. NEVER.

  • Poke Fun At Meaning: Making fun of something or someone; ridicule. Not happening, I am in a learning mode. Learnt a bit of self=hypnosis on Udemy and will try and find internal peace. have a Heavy head though 🙂

  • Quality Time Meaning: Spending time with another to strengthen the relationship. Yes meeitng coming up. started a new startup too.

  • Fool’s Gold Meaning: Iron pyrities is a worthless mineral that resembles gold. May write another poem today on this topic.

  • Tug of War Meaning: It can refer to the popular rope pulling game or it can mean a struggle for authority. Have no tug of war situation except one tough pricing negotiation coming up tomorrow..

  • Curiosity Killed The Cat Meaning: Typically said to indicate that any further investigation into a situation may lead to harm. I think enroling in 58 couses on Udemy is ENOUGH !

  • Throw In the Towel Meaning: Giving up; to surrender. No. Never. Not happening.

  • Eat My HatMeaning: Having confidence in a specific outcome; being almost sure about something. Yess. Will begin teaching SCM Logistics course again and take up paid coaching/ mentoring assignments for Branding/ Hyperscaling of startups.

Creativity: Random Phrases generated for the day, predict the day ahead.


  1. Wake Up Call Meaning: An occurance of sorts that brings a problem to somebody’s attention and they realize it needs fixing.  Just wondering, how many wake up calls one needs? One per day?  For those day dreaming? Multiple times a day:) 
  2. Like Father Like Son Meaning: Resembling one’s parents in terms of appearance or behavior. Hmmm…. Appearance is OK. Behavior – may be not! 🙂
  3. In the Red Meaning: Losing money. Being in debt.  But the people in Red so get habituated of high living and dependence on others money – they seldom come down from their high horses. 
  4. A Chip on Your Shoulder Meaning: Being angry about something that happened in the past. Yes. It happens to me all the time. Difficult to let go of the past. 
  5. Mouth-watering Meaning: Delicious; something that looks or tastes appetizing.
  6. Foaming At The Mouth Meaning: To be enraged and show it.  Ha Ha ha – I do it without foaming at the mouth – I type! 
  7. Cry Wolf Meaning: Someone that calls for help when it is not needed. Someone who is lying.  Hmmm… many recent cases of false alarms responded – leading to waste of time and going into a spin unnecessarily. 
  8. Easy As Pie Meaning: Something that is easy.  Nothing is? Is there anything easy at all?
  9. Tough It Out Meaning: To remain resillient even in hard times; enduring. Tough minded optimision, grit, determination and a firm commitment – yes, that’s what it is for me. 

Random phrases generated for creative juices to flow:)


  1. Shot In the Dark Meaning: An attempt that has little chance for success. But worth taking. I don’t leave till the end, whenever it comes – it may or may not come. Keep at it. 
  2. Birds of a Feather Flock Together Meaning: People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values. Yes. Especially Conniving, Nefarious, Nexus of Corrupt always find ways to come together. 
  3. On the Ropes Meaning: Being in a situation that looks to be hopeless! Hmmm… In such cases, I do not persist. I take a walk. A childhood trait.  Whenever there was an issue about Captaincy and someone wanted to be one instead of me – I’d walk away and start a new club, a new team and remain the Captain. What an authoritarian, autocrat I was. No?
  4. Down And Out Meaning: (1) A term used in a boxing. (2) Someone who has become incapacitated.  No. Never. Never give up.  I was able to contain the heart disease with Doctors, family help and my own determination.  I still live with half a heart pumping at only 35% but I choose to live and not give up.
  5. Hear, Hear Meaning: A shout of agreement, or to draw attention to a speaker.  No many times do we hear this.  These days, like the purchase managers of the olden days, people are taught to say NO NO NO NO till their tongue bleeds. 🙂

Random phrases generated this morning foretold how my day would go :)


  1. Playing For Keeps Meaning: Said when things are about to get serious. They indeed did. On mails first. In two meetings later and with Lunch at 5 PM when my Sugar levels went down and I was dizzy! 
  2. Jack of All Trades Master of None Meaning: Having suitable skill in multiple things, but not being an expert in any of them. That is Soooo … applicable to me! Never could master one thing… But kept learning and gaining different skills upto Advanced levels. Some I could even impart, teach while learning. 
  3. Cry Over Spilt Milk Meaning: It’s useless to worry about things that  already happened and cannot be changed. Yes. Indeed. There are things in the past, no one has a time machine to go back and correct. We either live with them or Let Go of the Past.  Later is the most difficult and hence they live with us. Wish I was a sweetmeat maker = a Halwai who could transform the split milk into Paneer = cottage cheese or Rosogullas ! 🙂
  4. A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted Meaning: It’s easy for a fool to lose his/her money.  Have been there, seen it all happen to me and many I have come across. It is indeed a true saying.  But it did not happen today – but waiting to happen to someone/ some people I know.
  5. You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks Meaning: It can be challenging to teach a person something new. I am an Old Dog in that sense, but I do not stop learning, either I enroll to and get some or the other certification or life teaches me and it becomes my EXPERIENCE 🙂 

Ask Me Anything: The Power of Being Vulnerable- Excellent article. Sharing.


Ask Me Anything: The Power of Being Vulnerable
Posted by Maren Fox – 19 June, 2018

President Obama surprised the world in 2012 when he logged onto Reddit and typed, “Ask me anything.” The forty-fourth president of the United States fielded unscripted, crowdsourced questions on topics like the troop surge in Afghanistan, money in politics, sports teams (he’s a Chicago Bulls fan), and net neutrality, among others. Most of his responses have long since been forgotten. But his extreme transparency—and vulnerability— left a lasting impression.

Since then, business leaders such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk have sat in the Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) hot seat. Why? In today’s digital world, transparency isn’t optional. If business leaders ignore tough or inconvenient questions, their customers and employees will seek answers elsewhere. Openness and vulnerability are inherently linked, and research indicates that leaders can leverage these traits to build trust, inspire innovation, and foster collaboration in their organizations, thus driving better business results. Trust, innovation, and collaboration are key ingredients of successful workplaces. In the modern era of crowdsourcing and distributed information, it’s more important than ever to leverage the power of openness—and vulnerability.

The Strong, Silent Type? Nope. Today, Openness Signals Strength.
Those old tropes about “strong, silent types” don’t hold up in today’s hyperconnected world. Why? Because being open requires us to give up control, and that requires us to face our vulnerabilities. Author and Forbes contributor David K. Williams explains, “In reality, vulnerability is a strength. Every leader has vulnerability. The greatest leaders have the self-awareness to recognize this fact.” Along with self-awareness, it takes a great deal of confidence in one’s ideas and opinions to be open to feedback and refine one’s approach. Remaining silent, meanwhile, shirks vulnerability and the open exchange of ideas.

Openness doesn’t merely foster strength in leaders, either. Sharing information can strengthen entire workforces. That’s why openness is a key characteristic of the new leadership paradigm. In a traditional command-and-control leadership style, information about business competitors, financials, and performance is withheld from downstream employees. But, as discussed in a previous blog post, information hoarding creates a layer of protection for top leadership while decreasing collaboration and innovation among employees. After all, “lower-level” employees who are left clueless to hard realities, challenges, and vulnerabilities the company is facing can’t offer solutions.

Want Stronger, More Innovative Workers? Build Their Trust.
A whopping 94 percent of senior executives who participated in a McKinsey survey said that people and corporate culture are the most critical drivers of innovation. However, 65 percent said they weren’t fully confident in strategic decisions made in these areas. Where’s the disconnect? McKinsey has found that an organization can foster a culture of innovation by inspiring trust among its employees and by ensuring that “dynamic innovation networks” allow information and new ideas to flow freely to and from employees at all levels. Sound familiar? Openness, vulnerability, and the free flow of information throughout an organization help achieve innovation and collaboration. How? By building trust. Various leadership styles and communication techniques can help you achieve that. Humble inquiry, an approach pioneered by organizational-development scholar Edgar Schein and consultant Peter Shein, is one such approach. “Appreciative inquiry”—a change method originated by authors David Cooperrider, Diana Whitney, and Jacqueline Stavros that engages all stakeholders in the effort to identify what works in an organization and facilitate positive change—is another.

Humble inquiry: Use vulnerability to cultivate trust, buy-in, and innovation.
Being open and transparent is a good way to build trust. But how you choose to communicate with individual employees is also a critical factor, and vulnerability is a big part of it. In his best-selling book, Schein explains that if we want others to trust us, we must learn to make ourselves vulnerable by being open about our dependence on them. He calls this communication technique “humble inquiry.”

Schein writes, “This can be difficult because one risks being snubbed or ignored, which can be humiliating. But it is essential because it shows the other person that you are willing to invest something, to go farther than just a minimum task oriented relationship. Your self-exposure, your vulnerability is the key ingredient in making the relationship more personal.” So, by making ourselves vulnerable to others, we build trust. And trust is a critical building block of a culture of innovation.

Appreciative inquiry: Be open about vulnerabilities to build a consensus and collaboration.
We live in a rapidly changing world. With shifting demographics and disruptive technology as the primary drivers, change has become the new norm. Being open and forthright about our personal and professional vulnerabilities can help build workforces that are more collaborative, cohesive, and resilient. One approach of “appreciative inquiry” is a change-management technique that requires team members to be radically open and honest with each other to gain an account of what’s happening, and why.

Change-management experts and authors Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell argue that this allows teams struggling to make a change to move beyond blame and work together to create a more resilient system. In their book Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry, they write, “Bringing together the whole is very important when working with teams, organizations, and groups of all kinds to build resilience. The power of deeply listening to stories of the same event from different perspectives cannot be underestimated.”

Final Thoughts on Leveraging the Power of Vulnerability
President Obama had no idea what questions he’d face when he logged on to the Reddit AMA session in 2012, but he had confidence that his opinions, policies, and positions would hold up in the face of radical openness and vulnerability. Today, we live in an “ask me anything” society. Business leaders build trust, collaboration, innovation, and resilience by being open and confronting vulnerabilities. Of course, not all information is meant to be shared. But judiciously sharing information and details can demonstrate that you’re deserving of trust.

via Ask Me Anything: The Power of Being Vulnerable